What Factors Affect Neuroplasticity?
Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to adapt and change in response to experience. It is a key ingredient in our ability to learn and remember new information. Neuroplasticity occurs throughout our lives, but it is especially important during childhood and adolescence, when the brain is growing and developing at a rapid pace.
There are many factors that can affect neuroplasticity, including:
Age: Neuroplasticity declines with age. Children and adolescents have more plastic brains than adults do. This is one reason why it’s so important for kids to get a good education: their brains are better able to learn and remember new information.
Gender: Some research suggests that women have greater neuroplasticity than men do. This may be one reason why women tend to outperform men on certain types of memory tasks.
Sleep: Sleep is essential for neuroplasticity. When we sleep, our brains consolidate new memories and skills that we have learned during the day. Without enough sleep, our brains have trouble formulating new connections and processing information.
Exercise: Exercise has been shown to increase neuroplasticity. One study found that rats who ran on a exercise wheel every day for three weeks had more brain activity and grew more new brain cells than rats who did not exercise.
Diet: What we eat can also affect neuroplasticity. Omega-3 fatty acids are particularly important for brain health. One study found that people who took omega-3 supplements had improved memory and cognitive function.